Q&A with the Guac Doc, Guy Fieri

Whether you’re planning taco night for your family or just have a crew over that you need to feed, homemade guacamole is the way to go. Guy Fieri, Food Network’s resident Guac Doc, is scooping out advice on everything guacamole: how to buy and ripen avocados, which mix-ins will make your guac reign supreme, and much more.

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What Ingredients Go Into Classic Guacamole?

“Your classic guacamole is just avocados, lime juice and salt. But by adding some kickers like garlic, chiles, seeded tomatoes, onions, cumin and cilantro — the only other things I’ll recommend are lots of fresh-made tortilla chips — they’ll literally fly off the plate.”

What Type of Avocado Makes the Best Guac?

“Hass avocados. These bad boys make for killer guacamole because of their rich, buttery texture. Plus, you can find them year-round.”

How Can I Tell When an Avocado Is Ripe?

“Ripe avocados should be soft, not squishy, and you should be able to flick the little stem off easily. You can refrigerate fully ripe avocados for two to three days.” 

My Avocados Aren’t Ripe! Any Quick Tricks?

“Avocados that haven't fully ripened will lack the big flavor you want for your dip. So if you’ve gotta make guac on the fly, keep your avocados in a paper bag at room temperature in a dark place. And if you've only got a couple of days, add an apple to the bag to speed up the ripening."

How Do I Cut Up an Avocado?

“Cut vertically around the entire avocado, then twist the two halves apart. Whack the pit (but watch the fingers) with a heavy chef's knife, then twist the pit out and discard. Use a butter knife to dice the avocado halves still in the peel, then scoop out the cubes.”

What’s the Best Way to Mash Avocados?

“It depends on the consistency you prefer. Mash up avocados with a fork for chunky guacamole, or squash with a potato masher for a smoother dip.”

Help! I Don’t Have Enough Avocados!

“If you don't have enough avocados to feed your guacamole-fiend friends, never fear. Guacamole goes great with a variety of mix-ins, like sour cream, roasted corn, tomatillos, green onions, and even sweet pomegranate, mango and pineapple. Put these players in the pool to experiment — who knows, with a little of these ingredients you may discover the Holy Grail of guacamole.”

How Do I Keep My Guac from Turning Brown?

“Nothing, not even an avocado pit, keeps guacamole green for too long once it's made, so make your guac right before go time. The acid in lemon and lime juice helps it stay green, as does a layer of plastic wrap placed directly on the surface. If your guacamole turns brown, try scraping off the top layer to reveal the green underneath. Or, tell your crew to eat it faster!”

I Have Half an Avocado Left. How Do I Keep it Fresh?

“Rub the cut edge of the unused half with lemon juice and keep the pit in. Then wrap it tightly and put it in the refrigerator. It should keep for two to three days.”

More Tips for Making Your Guac Reign Supreme

• Roll your limes on the counter to get more juice out. If your limes are dry, microwave them for about 10 to 15 seconds.

• For mild guac, discard chile seeds and ribs before dicing and adding; for extra heat, leave them in.

• Soak chopped red onions in cold water for 10 minutes to beef up their crispness and lessen their bite.

• Toast cumin in a skillet over medium-high heat till fragrant to boost flavor.

• Keep cilantro with stem ends down in a glass of water in the fridge; it'll keep for about a week that way.

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